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We are living in a time of crisis in a constantly evolving situation which is causing hardship and distress for many SMEs and self-employed contractors. This stress is compounded by financial hardship imposed by the current isolation and social distancing Covid-19 restrictions and their immediate and dramatic effect on businesses.

Revenue are closely monitoring the situation. On 13th March the Revenue Commissioners implemented certain measures in order to alleviate the situation and to assist small and medium enterprise businesses experiencing cashflow and trading difficulties arising from the impacts of the Covid-19 virus.

Revenue’s advice to SMEs is:-

  • Continue to file your Tax Returns on time;
  • Interest on late payments of VAT for January/February and PAYE (employers) liabilities for February and March is to be suspended;
  • All debt enforcement activity is suspended until further notice; and
  • Current tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months.

Subcontractors have been advised that the Relevant Contract Tax rate review which was due to take place in March 2020 has been suspended as this review may result in a Subcontractor’s RCT rate increasing (due to changes in their compliance status). If a Subcontractor believes that his/her rate should be lower, they can self-manage this review on ROS in order to avail of the lower rate of deduction.

Revenue have advised any businesses who are experiencing temporary cash flow or trading difficulties to contact the Collector-General’s Office and have stated that they will continue to closely monitor the situation as it evolves. Revenue have also moved to assure businesses that further guidance will be issued before future returns are due.

The press release can be found on the Revenue website here.

Irish Pillar banks are also working in a coordinated manner in an effort to support businesses affected by the impact of the Covid-19 virus and also to ensure continuity of service as the crisis evolves in an effort to avoid disruption to payment services and maintain the supply chain.

The Banks are also working to ensure that there are measures in place for personal customers who are facing financial stress as a result of the pandemic. Anyone experiencing difficulties as a result of the impact of Covid-19 is urged to contact their bank. As always, information is key and if you are experiencing difficulties, contact your bank and keep them informed as the situation evolves.

The Chief Executive of the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, Brian Hayes, said yesterday that the “the industry is here to help the entire country to get through this unprecedented situation, that’s why customer bank engagement is so crucial” (as reported in the Irish Times, 18 March 2020).

The Government has also moved to assure businesses that they are working with the banks to do what is needed to support businesses as they work through this crisis.